17th November 2017
Rhodes Arts Complex
Type of Production
Author: Decia Ranger
This show must be the ultimate feel good musical. Fabulous songs and the heartwarming story of the wannabe disco diva who witnesses a murder and hides in a convent where she breathes new life into their choir. She agrees to testify against her gangster lover and finds love in the form of the cop who had a crush on her in high school.
BSMTC has a reputation for putting on shows of a high standard to entertain the people of Bishops Stortford and beyond, so I was really looking forward to seeing this production.
There was some beautiful singing from the choir of nuns (after Deloris had taught them to “Raise your Voice”!), with strong harmonies and good solos from the principal nuns. Hannah-Marie Juggins as Sister Mary Robert gave a beautiful rendition of “The Life I Never Had”
All of the principals gave good performances. Beckie Hall was terrific as Deloris as was Sarah Sykes as Mother Superior. Uptight and twitchy at the upheaval caused by Deloris, she turns to the communion wine to calm her nerves. This was certainly a different take on things, but the result was a brilliant, tipsy version of “I Haven’t Got a Prayer”. The interaction between Deloris and Mother Superior produced some great comical moments, and later in the show, some tender ones too.
Mike Sykes was a very laid back Monsignor. There was some subtle interaction with the nuns but it was not the lively characterisation I had hoped to see.
Eddie was nicely played by Darrell Williams. His solo number and dream sequence worked really well, with the John Travolta costume and his cop’s uniform being revealed to order. Always a bit of a hold your breath moment!
Matthew Juggins made a perfect Curtis and gave a good polished performance. I would like to have seen him in a flashier suit, more in keeping with his role as a gangster, but that aside, well done. His three sidekicks, TJ (Ben Springham), Pablo (Daniel Abbott) and Joey (Yves Randle) gave a good rendition of “Lady in the Long Black Dress” and the number was nicely choreographed.
There were some excellent performances in this production. The acting and singing were of a very high standard. Unfortunately though, it lacked the colour and energy associated with this show, which over the years has amassed an almost cult following. I’m sure the Society had its reasons for scaling back on the costume plot, but for me it lost a lot of its wow factor in the process. The failure to source a blue jacket for Deloris was rather unfortunate. The cry that someone killed a Smurf was completely lost on the audience when the jacket appeared to be white instead of blue. I’m also curious as to why Eddie took Deloris back to the police station for safety in Act ll, rather than his apartment.
The small performing platform in the nightclub worked well, as did the simple set piece, but there were times, when the black tabs were pulled, that the wide stage looked very bare.
Lighting and sound were good and the orchestra under the direction of Susie Savage produced excellent, well balanced accompaniment, which was never too loud. Her nun’s veil was a nice touch.
This was a good show which could so easily have been a great show. However, that hasn’t stopped me from singing the songs ever since!
Thank you BSMTC for inviting me and to President Richard Ould for his hospitality.